Characteristics: Soft, silver-white solid, oxidizing rapidly in air; waxlike at room temperature, brittle at low temperatures. Store in airtight containers or in naphtha or similar liquid that does not contain water or free oxygen. Decomposes in water on contact, with evolution of hydrogen to form sodium hydroxide; insoluble in benzene, kerosene, and naphtha. Has excellent electrical conductivity and high heat-absorbing capacity.
Hazards: Strong, caustic irritant to tissue. Severe fire risk in contact with water in any form. Ignites spontaneously in dry air when heated. To extinguish fires, use dry soda ash, salt, or lime.